EC Split 13
by C. Mehrl Bennett / Faserhaft
an Electronic Cottage release
C. Mehrl Bennett
In August Company
All tracks originally recorded in August 2020
Various instruments used include a harmonica, kalimba, windchimes, the flexing of stiff plastic packaging, a stick striking wood or bowl bell, and a Roland RD-500 keyboard. Sonic Pi software was coded for audio chords in Asemic Letters, and the tree frog audio in In Front of Him was freely provided by Dr. James P. Bennett of Madison WI, USA. Mixing software sold by NCH is MixPad/ WavePad which provided copyright-free cow moo, desk bell, and clock ticking samples, plus a voice synthesizer. Ambient sounds recorded from my home include an August rain storm, bluejays, a car driving over steel plates, and a land-line telephone.
Inspirations: environmental sounds, Hugo Ball's dadaist sound poetry, asemic letters which synchronicity caused to arrive on the same August day from MaryAnne in the UK and from Rafael González in Spain. Many thanks to Hal McGee at Electronic Cottage for providing the opportunity & impetus to produce these tracks, and to Judith Pauly-Bender for being my "August Company", and especially to John Also Bennett for his expertise in creating the final audio master.
Hausgeräusche: Loss of time 2020
"Loss of time 2020" is a critical sound on the lockdown situation, from my point of view a world social lumbago.
The story of raw sounds is on the one hand a parable with a preliminary certificate (Track No. 19). On the other hand the little audio sketch is a chapter of my (lifelong) notebook. It is kept without third persons and is not a beauty contest. Opportunity, coincidence and time budget determine the form. So it turned out that here some sounds to my visual notes were allowed to become a mosaic stone in the EC-Split-Project 2020!
I would like to thank the Electronic Cottage group, namely Hal McGee, the initiator of this inspiring audio project, for this quite unlikely opportunity to participate, Rafael González for pointing the way to this wonderful "EC experience space", my split partner Catherine Bennett for her patience towards my pronounced obstinacy.
Instruments and techniques? Every verse is different, all spontaneously and intuitively created. The protagonist is a kitchen alarm clock that called me to my human-physiological lumbago gymnastics in August 2020! Otherwise: a microphone, a karaoke tool for children, breath and voice, a 40-year-old "Korg-Taktell" (which broke during the recording), an ether, a monotron, a pipe, a monoloque. Everything is homemade, produced alone and (!) without any ambition to be artificial. This also applies to the improvised recordings of the tracks (8 out of 10 tracks only with a cell phone).
Faserhaft Oktober 2020
Review by author Jerry Kranitz:
EC Split 13 features EC group members Catherine Mehrl Bennett and Judith Pauly-Bender (Faserhaft) in “August Company” with one another. Both artists employ a fun array of objects, voices, electronics and sundry sonics!
The voice is the star of the show on Catherine’s tracks. And it’s well supported by her ‘gear’, including harmonica, kalimba, windchimes, ‘the flexing of stiff plastic packaging’ (how cool is that?!!), a stick striking wood or bowl bell, and Roland RD-500 keyboard.
I got a sense of fun right out of the chute with ‘Many Hats’, which features computer voice dada and moo cow sound poetry. The computer and Catherine’s voice, both ‘straight’ and manipulated are heard on ‘An Audio Book’. Other tracks include dada swami recitation and song, Catherine reciting to a gently rolling stream, Catherine reciting to a combination of chimes and crackling, ‘breathy’, chant, and other voice manipulated song/reciting to kalimba, and more. I like the combination of poetry, drone chorus of electronic crickets, rumbling and harmonica on ‘In Front Of Him’. ‘August Piano Synth’ is different, being a delightful solo piano melody. I really like the sound of the piano synth. But my favorite is Catherine’s last track, ‘Two Asemic Letters’, on which she reads her interpretation of letters she received. The voice delivery is like a dada Native American/Klingon dialect, which sounds especially cool when the keyboard melody joins in. I love the vocalizations/pronunciations and, recalling John M. Bennett’s voice work on EC Split 2, I wonder if the two have ever done duos?
The best part of having linked up with Judith on Facebook is the wonderful art she creates and posts. Her art really brightens up my work from home days. So it’s a pleasure being treated to her audio work. It begins with the rhythm of a ticking clock and pan percussion. Judith titles her set ‘Loss of time 2020’, which she describes as “a critical sound on the lockdown situation”. It all feels very delicate, but then POW!… now it’s pure party time chaos on ‘Perpetual’, the beats provided by what sounds like a grooving rat-a-tat typewriter, plus a rickety chorus of percussion, musical swarm, and voice samples (some slowed down to drugged pace). The sensation is of an audio art office party.
A sense of fun alternates with meditations on the passage of time. There are electronic buzzing and chirping pieces, but then we’re taken back to the quiet clock rhythm, as if to make us keenly aware of TIME. We’ve got toy melodies, whirring electronics and collages of voices, plus whimsically jamming video game rock ‘n’ roll. I like the mildly frenzied tinkling alien synth melody on ‘Exit 1’. I got down with the zany electronic jamming funk of ‘Moods’. ‘Schore’ is by far the longest of Judith’s tracks and my favorite. I love the quirky, rickety, yet grooving upbeat electronic jazz vibe, the cool synth sound, and the jerky cymbal like rhythms that propel the music. A fun set. File under Cool & Strange!